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View Full Version : Xserve explained please


Alte22a
Jun 28, 2003, 10:51 PM
I was looking at the Xserve today on the Apple site, and was wondering what its really all about. I know what they are used for but never really knew how. So out of curiousity I search all over the Apple site to dig a little further but only found stats and more stats. Can anyone explain or direct me to a site so I can inform my self.

rainman::|:|
Jun 28, 2003, 11:12 PM
i have absolutely no idea what you're asking--

what kind of info are you looking for?

pnw

tazo
Jun 28, 2003, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by Alte22a
I was looking at the Xserve today on the Apple site, and was wondering what its really all about. I know what they are used for but never really knew how. So out of curiousity I search all over the Apple site to dig a little further but only found stats and more stats. Can anyone explain or direct me to a site so I can inform my self.

It is supposed to be Apple's solution to the server market. I think. :confused:

Rower_CPU
Jun 28, 2003, 11:38 PM
Apple's previous versions of their server software ran on regular desktops, with maybe some extra storage options. They saw that people wanted to run OS X Server in a more traditional server environment (i.e. racks), so they developed a rack-mountable server.

I see it as them easing their way into enterprise level computing, which gives them a shot at large corporate and educational networks.

Alte22a
Jun 28, 2003, 11:58 PM
Sorry guys for not being so clear. I just wanted to know what servers actually do. I know its a dumb question, I thought I knew what servers do but the more and more I think about it, it doesnt seem to make sense and why would people want to spend extra bucks on an Apple server? When the Market is saturated by other servers already?

mnkeybsness
Jun 29, 2003, 12:05 AM
xserves run os x server...that's why they would buy the xserve over other servers. i know many universities bought loads of os x xserves. they save so much space as compared to old "servers" from apple.

Rower_CPU
Jun 29, 2003, 01:34 AM
Apple also points out the licensing of OS X Server, compared to Windows Server, is quite a bit less. The 1U size and relative value makes the Xserve a good, dedicated server machine.

Hopefully G5s will help close the performance gap and give Apple a stronger offering in the server arena.

pretentious
Jun 29, 2003, 03:24 AM
I've understood that Xserve was considered to be very price competitive.

But here is a tidbit, I don't know personally if its true but its interesting, this a message in Slashdot (http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=66422&cid=6112204) a while back.

Genentech, a biotechnology company, did some research in late 1999/early 2000 and found that BLAST, software for sequencing genetic material, could be modified to use vectors instead of scalars and get performance improvements of as much as 10X. They did some preliminary work and ran a big cluster of Power Mac G4's for a while. Then they went to Apple and said, "We want this and this, and if you build it for us we'll buy umpteen thousand of them."

Apple built it. Genentech bought umpteen thousand of them.

The net result is that every Xserve apple sells is pure profit. Genentech has already paid for the development and initial tool-up costs, and then some.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. In the late 1990's SGI designed and built a DSP coprocessor system for Lockheed. They then turned around and sold it as the Tensor Processing Unit. Of course, nobody's ever heard of those because they're very specific little devices, but it's the same basic principle.

MisterMe
Jun 29, 2003, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by Alte22a
Sorry guys for not being so clear. I just wanted to know what servers actually do. I know its a dumb question, I thought I knew what servers do but the more and more I think about it, it doesnt seem to make sense and why would people want to spend extra bucks on an Apple server? When the Market is saturated by other servers already? A server "serves" files. That is, it provides a central location for files, both data files and application files, for other computers on a network.

edesignuk
Jun 29, 2003, 08:56 AM
A big point of a 'proper' server, over a desktop running a server OS is the machine itself, and it's stability. For example, hot plug drives, RAID, many CPU's (in the Wintel world), redundent PSU, I could go on. They are designed so that for the most part they *should* never go down, and if setup properly, you *should* never loose data due to disk failure.
They are used for much more than storing files, eg. terminal servers, data processing, domian controllers, blah blah.

Alte22a
Jun 29, 2003, 06:48 PM
suppose we have this scenario.

A design company which deals with graphics(motion & static), DV video production, photography and web design.

Suppose they have a number of machines with designers working on them.

Suppose all machines are networked via an Xserve.

I would assume that it be possible to have high speed access to all the files.

Would all the applications be stored on the main server? i.e. Photoshop, FCP, Macromedia software.

Can devices like printers, scanners and external firewire drives be shared?

Since the Xserve is hosting the web site. (if possible) how secure is this?

rainman::|:|
Jun 29, 2003, 07:30 PM
OK let me give you a couple of examples of where you'd want these...

First off, you'd want a rackmount server because you can store them 23u high, really conserving space (you should see my company's data faucility, even with rackmounts it's huge).

-A company has a large database of customer information-- Everything from credit card billing info, to personal info, to past customer service issues, to past purchases, results of surveys, etc. You'd store it on an xServe, for dedicated access- that way you're not competing with other department's servers for bandwidth.

-A research lab has teraquads... oops, um, hundreds of gigabytes of data... And they need to be able to search and access it quickly, from many locations. So they pair up 10 xServes with 10 xServe RAIDs, providing a fast, secure, and safe data storage solution.

-A school has network booting on their iMacs, and students have their own profiles on the network that they can access from any of hundreds of computers. Since they have a lot of stuff, and need many connections at once, they get two xServes, and spread their accounts across the two. They don't even need monitors to run-- Just to be left alone in a closet. Which is good, because schools don't have the manpower needed to maintain large IT bases.

Hope this gives you a better feel for things...

pnw

Alte22a
Jun 29, 2003, 07:40 PM
So media people have not need to touch these Xserves? Either for hosting Video streaming sites and Video editing?

Freg3000
Jun 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
I'd buy an xServe if I had a reason or purpose for it. :)

Alte22a
Jun 29, 2003, 07:59 PM
Am actually considering it at the moment. I understand about clustering for to get extra power in rendering, just wondering if it would be possible to Host websites of it as well. just a thought that I was chucking around while I am here figuring out to what to buy for the office.

Rower_CPU
Jun 29, 2003, 08:20 PM
OK, here's what we use the Xserve for at my work:
-web serving
-file serving
-email serving

Printer sharing and external storage sharing is also possible. I can't really comment on application sharing, since I've never done it, but something similar can be done with NetBoot.

Xserves come with 10/100/1000 ethernet built-in, so they will serve files as fast as the network they're on.